Larry Diamond

Will global democracy eventually prevail? Stanford professor and Hoover Institution senior fellow Larry Diamond joins us to weigh in on the political turmoil across the Middle East and Asia, and to discuss his upcoming trip to China and Tibet and their contentious relationship.

Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford

  • Lance

    Such a loaded question, “Will global democracy eventually prevail? ”

    Given various definitions of democracy and many caveats regional and external. A better question would be, “Which form of government has the better population control for that region? “

    • chrisnfolsom

      There is the socio-economic aspects – when people have no property, no money, no security, no education they are left with little but God – which others will manipulate for good or bad. I get so tired of people being judged as “different” – we are all the same. If you dropped Americans in the desert with no security, job, or anything we would grab guns and tray to protect, or do whatever it takes.

  • Sean Dennehy

    A couple of weeks ago there was a skirmish between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both countries threatening war. What are the chances this will go into all out war between both countries?

  • Bill_Woods

    Michael, Foley was not “executed” — he was murdered.

  • Harry Wiener

    Please ask the speaker to define “good” propaganda vs. “bad” propaganda. Please ask him if the U.S. funded IS in Syria. Please ask him to stop sounding like going to War yet again is a reasonable idea. War is morally wrong. Any claim of self-defense is propaganda.

  • Carlisle

    Mr. Diamond has addressed the elephant in the room-the use of ‘social media’ to propagandize the mission of ISIS. Corporate citizens of the US must address the issue internally as it isn’t about free speech. This is an ethical issue.

  • Ben Rawner

    The US has never and should not promote democracy around the world. The US promotes their own interests with whatever government is necessary. The Iraqi experiment is over and we have basically failed. It’s time for the people in Iraq from the bottom up to stand up for themselves. The recent invasion of ISIS has galvanized much of the country and hopefully it will continue.

  • Jim

    Michael, your guest expressed the opinion that “something in the human genome” allows horrific behavior. I agree. Only “proper” cultural values can keep the “something” in the bottle. Not all cultures are equal, not all people are equal, not all religions are equal. Humans are not perfectible. Your guest doesn’t sound like a “progressive”, how did he get on the air?.

  • carl

    “Freinds in the region”? Who/where are our friends in the region? The Saudi’s? Where are they? Who’s side are they on? The idea that the US has “friends in the Middle East is a joke. Our blundering into Iraq created this mess, I’m not sure we can fix it by blundering in again against ISIS,
    Why do not the regional powers all ‘unite’ (so to speak) to fight ISIS? I can’t think of a country in the region who would like to see such a fundamentalist Caliphate formed.

    • carl

      Your list of friends is pretty weak.
      The Kurds desire a nation-state but do not have one (Though I do hope they get one).
      Israel is our spoiled adolescent child not our friend. We buy them what they need/want and hope they will do as we want but they don’t, they do the opposite!

  • Peter

    Your guest says that instead of giving a “blank check”, the U.S. should condition aid to the Iraqi government on inclusion of its Sunni Arab minority, and not marginalizing or excluding them. Would he suggest that U.S. aid to Israel should also be conditioned on its government’s making more active efforts to include its own Sunni Arab minority in power?

  • William – SF

    From a non-expert’s perspective it appears any area in conflict, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East in general, requires skin in the game to maintain law and order, civil discourse, and societal functions.

    How does any effort by the US or by any country that doesn’t have a physical presence in an area of conflict succeed without skin in the game — and has history proved such success?

    Raise your hand if your willing to die for … Iraq, Syria, …

  • OoReFLuXoO

    Endless…. why make other countries like us. Unless they become a US state, Hang a flag, pledge allegiance & pay taxes. Let them do there own thing. It’s not or responsibly…. Our “US” dollars to do there countries work doesn’t add up

  • chrisnfolsom

    I like Obamas usage of “cancer” in his description of ISIS, and I am very annoyed at many who lable “Islam” as the same, while ignoring the other 90+% of Muslims who are not “terrorists”. We are involved as long as they have not just arms, but fuel, cars, infrastructure which allows the few to “Lord” over the many and oppress them. You don’t need weapons to oppress although they do make for bigger headlines. When we give large sums of money to governments that oppress you are now culpable for what they do to their people as well as whatever blow-back you get back yourself.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Larry Diamond deserves a lot of credit for his leadership in nourishing the ideas and policies that underlie effective democracy. The title “Spirit of Democracy” correctly implies there is a crossover between politics, ideas, and spirituality. But how best to protect and nourish a positive spirit? In the long run: better with ideas and examples than with weapons.

    He is correct to highlight the need for proper limits of free speech on social media, and the obligation of the big carrier players in Silicon Valley and elsewhere to do something proactively. But this should not only be about blocking specific hate speech and challenging hurtful lies. Support should also go to those organizations promoting Civic Peace Principles: positive, nonsectarian ideals and values for all.

    [By the way an eighteen-year-old asked me the other day: Is it legal to lie? This kind of fresh, direct question should cause us all to reflect on the kind of legal and political structures we elect to create.]

    • chrisnfolsom

      Did you tell the 18 year old – only if you can get away with it? I definitely think the whole “lie” thing is linked to our market economy where in this day and age it’s more about winning then what is right. Idealist can justify anything as when you are in a war only winning is the goal. As we are becoming more polarized (in everything) we are also becoming more idealists – it’s not just the religious extremists any more.

  • John Foley

    Very interesting. Saudi Arabia is our most powerful ally but alas is not a democracy; it fits the old US model of propping up dictatorships in order to achieve world domination. I’ve seen reports that suggest Saudi Arabia is funding the terrorists who are against the US and the current government in Iraq. If this is true, our alliance with Saudi Arabia is completely counterproductive. The whole idea of the US spreading democracy is really a joke.

    • chrisnfolsom

      I agree… It’s crazy that we give money to many countrys where the average person has no democracy, no freedom of the press, no Bank Account where the people can “fight back” or be represented. Some may say we aren’t “giving” money, but paying for oil, diamonds etc. But when handing money over to crony government and you know it is not going to be distributed (or used using your ideals) then you can’t hide behind ignorance just to line your own pockets.

  • baumgrenze


    Thanks for this program. I heard a small section while driving in my car. I don’t even consider calling under such circumstances.

    Larry Diamond was talking about African leaders (and others) who have plundered their countries and expatriated wealth instead of developing their national economies. All I could think of was Walgreen CEO Gregory Wasson proposing in June that ‘citizen’ Walgreen’s consider ’emigration’ to Switzerland to avoid taxes. I also recalled some of the others in the 0.1% who have aggregated most of the capital in the USA. What an example we set for those to whom we would sell democracy and capitalism!


    • Guest

      It’s crazy that we give money to country’s where the average person has no access to a bank account, valid information, or a democracy where they can “fight back” or be represented. Some may say we aren’t “giving” money, but paying for oil, diamonds etc. But when handing money over to crony government and you know it is not going to be distributed then you can’t hide behind ignorance just to line your own pockets as those leaders invest that money over seas, or cement their power by buying guns and weapons to control their populations.

  • unroar

    I don’t understand how Mr Diamond’s type of thinking is still seen as respectable after the debacle of the Iraq war. It should be shunned and ridiculed.

    His call to restrict free speech about only one party’s violence in the name of promoting democracy would be laughable if he weren’t influencing the elites.

    His call for Israel to be more ruthless against the democratically elected Hamas shows how much of a propaganda lie this concept of democracy is.

  • Another Mike

    Mr. Diamond warns us of the dangers of giving land to certain groups because that only whets their appetite for more, yet he starts speaking of Israel as if it still had the same boundaries granted it in 1948.

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